Thanks for stopping by to talk a little about your writing! Let's jump right in. When did you begin writing and why?
That's a tricky question. The first thing I ever wrote was an oral speech I had to give in fifth grade. The teacher wanted a story of what we did over the summer. Typical. I was nervous about speaking because, at that age, I had a slight speech impediment. I told a story about my brother and I finding ponies in a field (now a short story called: Pony Summer in Memories of My Childhood) and how we tried to ride them. I threw in a touch of humor. At the end, my teacher took me aside and said, "You are going to be a writer." Really. Though I told her: I was going to be an artist. I became both. Because when I grew up I did become a graphic artist in the real world, but something, something I couldn't stop, made me start writing poems at age twenty and then I found myself writing my first novel at twenty-one; forty-eight years ago now. I haven't stopped since. About sixteen years ago I put the artwork away and devoted myself totally to my books. They take all my time.
Do you have a favorite genre? Is it the same genre you prefer to write? I started out, in 1984, as a horror writer. I was an avid fan of Stephen King, Dean Koontz and Anne Rice and my early paperbacks sat on the book shelves next to them (I was so proud). My first novels were about vampires, witches, ghosts and eternal demons in the woods; most also with a secondary thread of romance and/or mystery. Yet over the years I eventually graduated into writing romantic paranormal, time-travel, thrillers and murder mysteries. These days it's my murder mysteries and thrillers that sell the best, but I will always love horror and the paranormal, to read and write.
Do certain themes and ideas tend to capture your writer’s imagination and fascinate you? Many themes. Over my career I've written apocalytic stories, stories about people being haunted by old mysteries and old crimes or by ghosts, real or imagined. Murders. I've been intrigued about any idea that pitted good against evil in any form, demons against angels and humans, bad people against good. I'm fascinated with characterization. I strive to make my readers care about my characters so that when something happens to one of them, good or bad, the reader cares, too.
How do you balance long-term thinking vs. being nimble in today's market? It's not easy. I've been around a long time. I started my first books on a typewriter. 1972. I've had to learn the new technologies, the computer and the Internet. I was with traditional publishers for over thirty-three years and in 2012 dove head first into self-publishing. I've learned to do all I have to do, formating my own eBooks, paperbacks and creating my audio books with narrators on ACX; to run my own writing empire. Promoting on Twitter and Facebook. There are still things I don't/can't do, but every day I try to learn a new trick. I have to to stay nimble to remain in the new game.
How do you find readers in today's market? Twitter, Facebook and any blog I can get on. I also have a blog. I am on Prolific Works offering free partials of my books. I also offer permafree the first in both my series, Dinosaur Lake and Spookie Town Murder Mysteries, that helps sell the sequels. I'm getting ready to try Amazon ads. So much to do and try yet. I think I have an ace in the hole, though, as my books have been published since 1984 and after that many years some readers know of me. The thing is, I don't really actually know how to find readers today - I just scatter-shot everywhere and hope it helps.
Do you come up with the hook first, or do you create characters first and then dig through until you find a hook? After twenty-eight novels and twelve short stories over forty-eight years either way works for me. But I do usually get the character/characters first and they often come with the hook or a loose plot.
How do you create your characters? Sometimes they're based on people I have met or known. Sometimes I dream of them or I read (used to when I read newspapers, now it's the news feed on the Internet or TV) about them in the newspaper. Some I take from my own life, work, family or friends. Some I just make-up. My husband of over forty years has been/is a character himself and he is, in one form or another, in many of my stories. He's done many strange and interesting jobs in our life together (Marines, cop, security guard, truck driver, PI, salesman, machinist) and has given me many characters. He is also a verbal storyteller and sometimes I steal the essence of his tales.
What's on the top of your TBR pile right now? The newest Stephen King or Dean Koontz book, whatever they are. But I have been so busy lately finishing my twenty-eighth novel and my twenty-seventh audio book, promoting, etc. that I haven't had much time lately to read. I miss it. That is the biggest difference with self-publishing, a writer has to do it all. Write and promote. It takes a lot of time and I also need balance in my life. I need to be able to LIVE, enjoy my husband and family, friends as well as write and promote. Keeping a balance is not easy.
Tell me a little about the characters in Dinosaur Lake V: Survivors.
My Dinosaur Lake series (5 books now) is my second best-selling series. I have two series; the other, and my best-selling right now, is a cozy murder mystery called Spookie Town Murder Mystery series (5 books). This dinosaur thriller series is set in Crater Lake National Park, Oregon, and the main character is the Chief Park Ranger who, in the first book (which is free everywhere), discovers a vicious, cunning prehistoric dinosaur in the lake and how he and others find, fight and kill it. The beauty and wildness of an Oregon national park with a unique caldera lake gives me a great setting. Winters are brutal with all the snowfall and summers are beautiful with the green park full of visitors. The other books in the series are continuing adventures in the park when more dinosaurs show up eventually threatening the world. Fun note? I originally wrote the first book in 1993 and it was supposed to be published by Zebra paperbacks in 1994. But I got a new editor six weeks before it was to go to the book shelves (final editing and covers were done) and he ditched it saying: "No one wants to read about dinosaurs." Really. A half a year later Jurassic Park the book came out. Disgusted, I stuck Dinosaur Lake in a drawer for twenty years and in 2012, wanting to try self-publishing for the first time, I took the old manuscript out and rewrote it; self-published it and for the next six years it and its sequels sold like hotcakes for me. It blew me away. So by 2015 I had taken all my books back from legacy publishers and self-published all of them. The sixty to seventy percent royalties I now receive gives me a much better income on my novels and short stories. I only self-publish these days and I do it all. Write, format, publish and promote. I have my own book empire.
If you had to write your memoir in five words, what would you write? Empathetic person; loved to write.
How often does your muse distract you from day to day minutiae? I've been writing now for over 48 years of my life and my muse never leaves me. I've learned to live with her, always listen to her, but she no longer rules my life as she did when I was younger. If I get an idea, I take notes and then I write when I feel like it. Also, 48 years ago I started on a typewriter (took forever, hunt and pecking)...and modern day advances like the computer and the Internet make it so much easier now to write and publish a book. And now that I'm officially retired from the outside full time working world (I was a graphic designer at different companies for years) I have more time to split between her and housework/family/living.
What do readers have to look forward to in the future from you?
Last year I was diagnosed with early stage breast cancer and had to have surgery and radiation treatments (and my husband, Russell, of over forty years also fought bladder cancer at about the samer time)...it made me realize how little time I/we might have left so for now I am very happy with my career and my 28 novels and 12 short stories published since 1984. I just finished book #28, the fifth Dinosaur Lake one, and hope to write a few more novels as long as I stay well and breathing...but I will take my time because I also intend to enjoy life. So if I don't write another novel I think I am good with the 28. What do you think?
Dinosaur Lake V: Survivors
Dinosaur Lake series, PG13
Publisher: Kathryn Meyer Griffith
The Fifth Dinosaur Lake Book:
The predator dinosaurs, amphibious, land-crawlers, air flyers, small and large, were dead; dead in all the forests, mountains, deserts, towns and cities of America and across the planet. They were still hunted, sought and exterminated when found, and these rogue beasts were becoming rarer every day. The humans’ dinosaur killing serum and extermination practices had worked far better than anyone had prayed and they had eventually freed the planet of its primordial scourge. The earth belonged to the humans once more and all its lands were safe–or so the world, Henry Shore, former Chief Park Ranger at Crater Lake National Park, and his wife, Ann, had believed…until one day years later two new dinosaurs, craftier than any the earth had ever seen, appeared. One of them was benevolent, a friend to mankind, and the other was not. It was blood-thirsty, eerily intelligent and unbelievably vengeful. This dinosaur wouldn’t be so easy to kill. *** Dinosaur Lake V: Survivors is the fifth book in the Dinosaur Lake series by Kathryn Meyer Griffith.
Amazon Tiny URL: https://tinyurl.com/y83rdvuh
The predatory dinosaurs, amphibious, land-crawlers, air flyers, small and large, were dead; dead in all the forests, mountains, deserts, towns and cities of America and across the planet. They were still hunted, sought and dispatched of when found, yet these rogue beasts were becoming rarer every day. The humans’ dinosaur killing serum and extermination practices had worked far better than anyone had hoped and it had eventually freed the planet of its primordial scourge.
The world belonged to the humans once more and all its lands were safe.
Or so the world, Henry Shore and his wife, Ann, had believed…until one day years later….
Henry lounged on the porch in front of the newly finished cabin enjoying the morning. He was watching the clouds as they scudded by. The wind was rustling the fall colored leaves, of tawny gold, orange and sanguine hues, on the trees along the fringe of his property. His yard was a large long piece of land rolling down five acres to the woods; the cabin sat on the front third of it. There was a briskness in the air so common to late fall in Oregon so he was wearing his warm robe and slippers Ann had given him for his last birthday.
He had a fresh newsprint copy of the Klamath Falls Journal in his hands and it crinkled as he turned the page. He knew a small town print newspaper was an anachronism these days, what with the Internet and all, but he still liked reading it if only for the hometown quaint news of people and places he was familiar with and to feel the newsprint in his hands.
For her part, Ann couldn’t break the decades long habit of stopping by the rebuilt newspaper, which she’d once been an employee and a publisher of before she’d sold it to Elmer Gadston, and picking up the weekly editions. She was nostalgic in that way. Sometimes she submitted articles of her own if something interesting around town caught her fancy enough for her to write about it. Occasionally she scribbled and submitted her now infamous whimsical drawings with the articles if the piece would benefit from them. That’s how she kept her fingers in the newspaper racket, or so she’d tell him. Besides she relished writing them and seeing them published. Elmer printed everything she wrote and seemed honored to receive them.
It amused Henry he and Ann were considered hometown heroes because of the dinosaur wars and their part in them. She maintained the newspaper pieces kept her in practice. But for what, Henry had no idea. Ann swore she’d never return to working fulltime at a newspaper or owning one, and especially since she’d begun her web blog: Small Town News. The highly popular blog, about the humorous complexities of living in a small gossipy town where everyone knew everyone else’s business and happily blabbed about them, had over a million followers, and was growing daily. It kept her busy, along with the book she was leisurely writing. Some readers loved her blog so much they sent cash donations, at times quite substantial amounts, which helped to pad their retirement income. Who would have known, Henry thought, that the Internet would one day make Ann so much money…from home? All those years when they’d been so worried about not having enough money to retire on had been a wasted concern. The times had changed all right.
So Ann liked their retirement life just fine.
The sun was barely coming up over the autumn-hued trees and for a moment it reminded him of the New England fall leaf trip he and Ann had taken two years before. That had been a great trip. He’d taken an endless number of photographs of people, animals and scenic locations and Ann had raved over the vibrant crimsons, ocher and yellows of the lush foliage; the mustardy tang of the crisp air. They’d both agreed they’d have to do it again. It had been that much fun.
A pirouetting breeze swirled leaves around his feet. He sighed as his eyes stared up into the pale sapphire sky, skimmed over the trees hulking above, and then scanned the porch and yard surrounding him.
The cabin had been completed a couple of months before and it was everything Henry and Ann could have ever wanted. It had a generous two car garage in the backyard on the left with a carport to cover their modest RV, a lovely sun porch on the front side and a wraparound porch on the rear. His wife had insisted their home all be on one floor with a roomy basement underneath it in case of a tornado or…if the dinosaurs ever returned.
Oh, she hadn’t said that about the dinosaurs exactly, about her fear they could return, but Henry supposed it was never far from her thoughts or his really. He suspected she still had nightmares about the dinosaur days. He knew he did.
The worst of his nightmares were when he was forced to relive horrifying moments of each loss, battle or the worst of those times, when his men or his friends had given their lives to protect others. Then there were the horrendous dreams where he found himself living and fighting back in the fortified ranger headquarters seemingly in the middle of the final wars or on the day their daughter, Laura, died. He would find himself repeating a whole day or many days as if it were occurring again in real time.
Those nightmares persisted and he’d often wake up, shaking, in a cold sweat with only one thought on his mind: Thank God that was only a dream! But it left feelings of angst and disorientation that would hang on for hours.
Author Bio and Links
Since childhood I’ve been an artist and worked as a graphic designer in the corporate world and for newspapers for twenty-three years before I quit to write full time. But I’d already begun writing novels at 21, over forty-six years ago now, and have had twenty-seven (nine romantic horror, two horror novels, two romantic SF horror, one romantic suspense, one romantic time travel, one historical romance, four thrillers, one non-fiction short story collection, and six murder mysteries) previous novels, two novellas and twelve short stories published from various traditional publishers since 1984. But I’ve gone into self-publishing in a big way since 2012; and upon getting all my previous books’ full rights back for the first time in 35 years, have self-published all of them. My Dinosaur Lake novels and Spookie Town Murder Mysteries (Scraps of Paper, All Things Slip Away, Ghosts Beneath Us, Witches Among Us and What Lies Beneath the Graves) are my best-sellers.
I’ve been married to Russell for over forty years; have a son, two grandchildren and a great-granddaughter and I live in a small quaint town in Illinois. We have a quirky cat, Sasha, and the three of us live happily in an old house in the heart of town. Though I’ve been an artist, and a folk/classic rock singer in my youth with my late brother Jim, writing has always been my greatest passion, my butterfly stage, and I’ll probably write stories until the day I die…or until my memory goes.
2012 EPIC EBOOK AWARDS *Finalist* for her horror novel The Last Vampire ~ 2014 EPIC EBOOK AWARDS * Finalist * for her thriller novel Dinosaur Lake.
*All Kathryn Meyer Griffith’s books can be found here:
*All her Audible.com audio books here:
Novels and short stories from Kathryn Meyer Griffith:
Evil Stalks the Night, The Heart of the Rose, Blood Forged, Vampire Blood, The Last Vampire (2012 EPIC EBOOK AWARDS*Finalist* in their Horror category), Witches, Witches II: Apocalypse, Witches plus Witches II: Apocalypse, The Nameless One erotic horror short story, The Calling, Scraps of Paper (The First Spookie Town Murder Mystery), All Things Slip Away (The Second Spookie Town Murder Mystery), Ghosts Beneath Us (The Third Spookie Town Murder Mystery), Witches Among Us (The Fourth Spookie Town Murder Mystery), What Lies Beneath the Graves (The Fifth Spookie Town Murder Mystery), Egyptian Heart, Winter’s Journey, The Ice Bridge, Don’t Look Back, Agnes, A Time of Demons and Angels, The Woman in Crimson, Human No Longer, Four Spooky Short Stories Collection, Forever and Always Romantic Novella, Night Carnival Short Story, Dinosaur Lake (2014 EPIC EBOOK AWARDS*Finalist* in their Thriller/Adventure category), Dinosaur Lake II: Dinosaurs Arising, Dinosaur Lake III: Infestation and Dinosaur Lake IV: Dinosaur Wars, Dinosaur Lake V: Survivors, Memories of My Childhood and Christmas Magic 1959.
My Blog: https://kathrynmeyergriffith.wordpress.com/
My Facebook author page: https://www.facebook.com/KathrynMeyerGriffith67/
Facebook Author Page: https://www.facebook.com/pg/Kathryn-Meyer-Griffith-Author-Page-208661823059299/about/?ref=page_internal